Welcome to the latest edition of Cedarians in (Zoom) Cafes Getting Coffee. Let’s check with Gabe Rodrigues, Director of Partnerships, who joined us in 2018.
Hi, Gabe! Great to see you. Although we’re chatting over Zoom, I have to ask: what’s your go-to morning drink?
Black coffee with nothing in it. I make it at home, grind it and get on with my day. I try to keep it to one cup. No more than two, if I’m really tired.
Your control over caffeine intake is pretty impressive. Now let’s kick things off with a little bit about your background.
After working in finance for years, I was looking for a new challenge and an opportunity to explore a whole new industry. I wanted something that had a mission tied to it too, something that was a little more legacy-building. I also have some family back home in Brazil who work in healthcare policy and administration.
How did you land at Cedar?
Before this, I worked in business development for a company called Nomad Health in New York. I got my green card in 2018, and I wanted to do something more commercially focused, and in a sales team on enterprise. What I saw at Cedar was this opportunity to focus on a problem that is changeable, that will affect a lot of people and will really deliver value to consumers, providers, —and now payers—in a very tangible way that will help move the whole industry forward.
Yes! It’s all very exciting. And you’ve been at Cedar for three years now, so you’re sort of a veteran. How has the company evolved?
It’s been overwhelmingly humbling, in a way. I’ve seen so much cool stuff and I enjoy working with many different people, yet I still feel like there’s so much opportunity for our growth as a company, opportunity for us to make a dent in what we want to do in the industry and opportunity for my personal growth and learning. And at every stage, we see these great milestones happening at Cedar—yet we still have this scrappy mentality that we can be doing more. Being part of the journey has been awesome.
The company is growing quickly. What do you think Cedar has done especially well as it gets bigger?
To me, it’s this feeling of being in a low-ego environment where everyone trusts each other and wants to collaborate. Everyone wants to be there to solve the problem. Everyone wants to help. And when we fail, we fail together, and when we win, we win together. The other thing too, I think, is that I’ve never felt that I didn’t understand what my role was, or how my work was contributing something important, or that I was just a cog in the machine. We still have this sense of ownership, that every one of us is affecting things in some way. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
Also, we all endured COVID in a way that I still feel very involved in our community. Credit goes to our People team for their focus on community-building activities, events and all the other things we’ve been doing together virtually.
So what does a typical day look like for you?
My day is usually a mix of calls, and preparing for calls. There are all these external meetings we have while working remotely, rather than traveling (which is usually such a big component of my job—conferences, client onsites, and so on). For every hour of calls, there are many hours of preparation, including to convey our message and what we should focus on. We’re often going back and forth with our prospects about how exactly our product might fit their needs. Every single client we onboard is not just buying Cedar for what we are today, but seeing if we’re a good fit for the future. We want to make sure our partners are with us for years to come.
What would you say is the most critical attribute for doing your job well?
You need an understanding of what makes a prospect tick, and how you can become a top of mind issue for them. Our clients have so many issues going on. There are so many problems happening; there are so many projects and initiatives they’re focused on. So how do you make sure you understand what gets them to think of you, and prioritize the work you want to do with them? That’s important.
The second thing is just having a very good understanding of what we do, and how to build that story, a story that hasn’t been told before. We’re selling something different here. We’re selling not just for the product, but our vision as well. You’ve got to have a level of intellectual curiosity to see that vision and present it to other people.
What’s your proudest achievement at Cedar so far?
I’m just proud of what we’ve done as a company—and being part of a team that is dedicated to making sure that we deliver on what we promise, and that clients are happy.
I think we’re just getting started, to be honest. There are so many things we can do in the future, which is really exciting. Working with folks who share that vision is probably the coolest part of the job.
Interested in becoming a Cedarian? We’d love to hear from you. Check out our current job openings: https://cedar.com/careers/